Saab gave the 9-3 2.0T SportCombi an exterior makeover for 2008, which includes a more streamlined nose, a more prominent grille, and iceblock-inspired taillights. The 2.0T SportCombi also comes equipped with several new standard features for 2008, including a tire-pressure monitoring system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, XM satellite radio, a year of OnStar, and 16-inch, 14-spoke alloy wheels.
The five-passenger 2.0T SportCombi offers more space and functionality than the 9-3 sedan, including nearly 30 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat backs upright, and just over 72 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down.
A fuel-efficient, turbocharged, 210-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine powers the front-wheel-drive SportCombi. The engine links to a full synchromesh six-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed Sentronic automatic transmission with a manual shifting mode.
Other standard features for the 2008 9-3 2.0T SportCombi include leather seats, a leather-trimmed sport steering wheel, wood-effect interior trim, automatic climate control, antilock brakes, traction control, and an electronic stability system.
Later in the model year, Saab will also add an optional electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system, called XWD, or cross-wheel drive.
Test drivers and reviewers have noted that while the Saab 9-3 2.0T SportCombi has a comfortable, well-appointed cabin, it still lacks in areas such as the suspension, steering, and overall handling, especially when compared to some competitive sport sedans. However, stability and handling greatly improve with the addition of the new XWD system, according to some reviewers.